Here is why relationship labels are important.

Labeling a relationship can seem like a daunting task, especially when it comes to discussing the boundaries of relationships with romantic partners. But defining the terms of your relationship is essential for communication and understanding — not to mention reducing feelings of confusion and anxiety.

Establish Healthy Boundaries.

Labeling your relationship can help to establish and maintain healthy boundaries by clearly defining roles and expectations. When both parties feel safe, secure, and respected within the relationship, it is more likely to be successful. Establishing clear communication about boundaries also encourages individuals to ask for what they need from the relationship, both emotionally and physically.

Clear Communication and Understanding Among Couples.

Why relationship labels are important in relationships? Because labeling a relationship brings clarity and increases understanding between couples. When both parties clearly know what the relationship is built on, it can help them to meet their needs in more positive and healthy ways. For example, if a couple labels their relationship as “monogamous” then both parties understand that neither should engage in relationships with other people. This helps each individual to stay accountable, trusting, and understanding of each other.

why relationship labels are important

Get on the Same Page About Expectations and Commitment Levels.

An important part of labeling your relationship is getting on the same page about expectations and commitment levels. Ask yourself if you’re both making promises or are free to explore other relationships? This ensures that each person in the relationship holds themselves responsible as well as keeps their partner informed. Labeling a relationship is an effective way to answer underlying questions like “are we just casually dating or do we want to be exclusive?”, setting clearer boundaries and expectations from each other.

Avoid Misunderstandings or Hurt Feelings by Explicitly Labeling Your Relationship.

Being explicit about the labels you and your partner have agreed upon can avoid misunderstandings or hurt feelings down the line. By labelling your relationship, both parties know where they stand and what kind of commitment or connection is expected. This can make difficult conversations about exclusivity easier and helps eliminate any confusion caused when expectations don’t match up. With a good understanding of the state of the relationship, it can create a solid foundation for communication and trust.


Lessen Jealousy or Resentment By Knowing What Both Partners Want Out of the Relationship.

Jealousy and resentment can arise from an absence of clear communication about expectations, boundaries and relationship goals. It’s important for both people in the relationship to know what each other wants out of it; things like monogamy, exclusivity, long term commitment or just casually dating. By doing this early on in a relationship you can avoid any misunderstandings and resentment that could arise in a loved one’s partner. It gives you the clarity to make sure you’re on the same page with your partner and both of you should be able to call it out if someone gets uncomfortable with how communication is progressing without getting defensive.


why relationship labels are important
Photo by Gustavo Fring

But wait, what are the different types of relationship labels? 

There are many different types of relationships that people can have with one another, and each one can be labeled in a unique way. Some common relationship labels include:

  1. Romantic: This type of relationship is characterized by feelings of love, attraction, and intimacy between two people. Romantic relationships can take many forms, including dating, engagement, and marriage.

  2. Platonic: This type of relationship is characterized by a strong friendship between two people, without any romantic or sexual feelings. Platonic relationships can be just as important and meaningful as romantic relationships.

  3. Family: This type of relationship refers to the connections between people who are related by blood or marriage. Family relationships can include parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and other relatives.

  4. Professional: This type of relationship refers to the connections between people who work together in a professional setting. Professional relationships can include coworkers, supervisors, and clients.

  5. Acquaintance: This type of relationship refers to people who know each other but are not close friends or family. Acquaintances may be people you meet through school, work, or other activities.

  6. FWB (Friends with benefits): This type of relationship refers to friends who also have a sexual or romantic relationship. This type of relationship may have a casual or serious nature.

  7. Open: This type of relationship refers to a relationship where both parties are free to have other sexual or romantic partners.

  8. Monogamous: This type of relationship refers to a relationship where both parties are committed to being sexually or romantically exclusive with one another.

  9. Polyamorous: This type of relationship refers to a relationship where both parties are committed to more than one person romantically or sexually.

  10. Long distance: This type of relationship refers to a relationship where the partners are living in different geographic locations. Communication and trust are very important in this type of relationship.

It’s important to note that relationship labels can change over time and may not always be fixed. People’s feelings and circumstances change, so it’s important to communicate and discuss these changes with your partner which is why relationship labels are important.